Last week we learned about Jane Goodall and her passion for animals. Today we began learning about Ansel Adams and his passion for nature and photography. I want students to see that there are lots of ways to take action to make the world better–and following your passions is a great place to begin.
It’s surprising to me that I haven’t had students use their iPads to take photos before this point in the year. I’ve used iPads sparingly this year–I think partly in response of the intensive use of devices during COVID times. So today was the day I decided that we simply HAD to do some photography.
I started by showing my students a slide show with three photography techniques: bug’s eye view (a view from a low perspective), bird’s eye view (a view from above), and using the rule of thirds (framing the subject using grid lines to help with positioning). We did a quick practice in the classroom where I could give some immediate feedback by walking around the room.
After lunch, we came back to the classroom where I gave a few pointers about taking our iPads outside, and then we headed out into the garden to take photos using the three techniques. I limited them to 10 photos, but encouraged them to explore and experiment, deleting any that weren’t good.
There’s nothing like watching first graders take photos. They have no hesitation about laying on the ground, crawling under a plant, or taking an angle that I would never have imagined. As we walked back from the garden, we made a few stops to snap a couple of extra photos of some California golden poppies growing along the fenceline, some other wildflowers, and a lizard doing some sunbathing. And of course, I couldn’t resist a bird’s eye view shot of the class on our way back.
Back in the classroom we took a few minutes to look through the photos, identifying which technique (or combination of techniques) we had used. Tomorrow we will explore some editing…and select our best three for some caption writing.
There’s more to come on this project…stay tuned!
I love this idea and want to steal it. We have Chromebooks so it works a little differently, but I think it might work. It would be fun to try anyway.
Please do! I’d love to hear how it goes!
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What an awesome real-life adventure and lesson! I don’t ask my students to do a lot with visual media, but this certainly inspires me to experiment more!
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This is a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing. We’re doing photo essays next in my creative writing elective, and I think we will start with this activity.
I look forward to hearing how it goes!